This one has been a long one in the making but it is one of our favorite releases. It has been mentioned here before but Hamburg has really given a strong account of itself in the last 2 years or so. This brings me to one of the best things about the German skate scene, it is NOT all focused on the capital city. From Munich to Nüremberg, to Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, and most of all the Ruhr Valley area. The countries scene as a whole is blossoming but it is fair to say that output wise Hamburg might be at the top currently. With all that being said, APPARAT 2 by Jonas Strecke is amongst the best things to come out of the Hanzestadt. Now sometimes we like to talk to people about their work but after speaking to Jonas we found out that we this is a bigger thing for the future, so, instead of that we asked him to talk about his own work. Which you can read bellow.
Film, Edit & Text By Jonas Strecke.
Intro by Roland Hoogwater.
The film APPARAT2 was shot over a period of 3 years featuring 43 different skaters that all contributed to it. APPARAT is a video series based in Hamburg, Germany. The basic idea for the second episode was the portrayal of lost or unused spaces and their urban mechanisms that ought to be rethought and reclaimed. In Hamburg most of the urban space is already planned, sold, or speculated upon for the next couple of decades.
The layout of most of the spots that I had in mind for this project paved the way for a lengthy creative process. A lot of skaters complained to me about these spots and that was no surprise to me. It is hard to have a session with 10 people when only one skater is able to do a trick.
“Some might know the scenes of the girl on the telephone panicking while the snipers’ red dot wanders around her forehead…”
During the G20 Certain parts of the city got locked off completely. Little did I know that the situations I would run into and documented resulted in a so-called ‘state of exception’. It meant that we were in a state of emergency and military forces were allowed to intervene within the area of the Sternschanze.
It was a mess. Within the first minutes, the smashing started. At the end of the scene, a guy walks up to me with a Molotov cocktail in his hand (it only is slightly visible in the footage).
After that, I was trying to get out of that specific area and by chance, I ran into a guy who was rushed away by about 7 police officers. I was standing right next to him when they started beating him up on the ground and I raised my camera and hands to show that I surrendered. That’s where the shaky bits of footage came from. Afterward, we sat down in a bar and watched the full mayhem on TV, while it was happening “LIVE” right next to us. Some might know the scenes of the girl on the telephone panicking while the snipers’ red dot wanders around her forehead or the couple that was fucking publicly in this free for all area.
The thing I am trying to say is that it was a crazy experience and in the beginning, I was kind of scared to release this material. There were ongoing investigations and I did not want to have anything to do with either the police or with the demonstrators. However, I believe enough time has passed.
In 2020, Benny got excited when I told him to go for a rooftop section. We decided to go for one of the less risky spots, which was hard to get to. On the one hand, because it is currently a construction site on the other hand because the first 6-8 meters up to the first platform have to be climbed. So we took a rope. After about thirty minutes of trying we finally managed to somehow attach the rope to the first platform and started the ascend. Up there we started the first shot. 2-minutes later I turned around and saw some terrified people on the balconies next to us, waving with phones in their hands. It took around 5-minutes for the police to arrive on the other side below us. We packed our stuff, climbed down -luckily on a different side than the police- and ran. We got lucky that time.
The DIY was built illegally in just 2 weekends. The idea was to skate the DIY for about two weekends before the building got demolished. Throughout the fundraiser party, we had to cover the costs, people took the demolition part quite seriously. They started to take one of the still in use kitchens apart and ran through intact walls. Sometimes skaters are savages. Funnily both the building and the DIY stand to this day. Not for public use though.
Billstraße is one of the locations I wanted to document for the imagery of the film. It has a forgotten and different sort of atmosphere most of the spots or moments in APPARAT2 try to contain. Only in winter 19/20, I managed to film a single line with Michel Rethemeier over there because of its crust. Documenting the hoarded junk of various import-export companies that needed some sketchy permission.
I had stacked all of the needed footage up until the summer of 2020. The last shot that was missing for me was an underground delivery entrance to one of the train stations. After all the hustle everybody went through it was a lot to ask. The place is off-limits, smells, and is full of rat and pigeon shit. The first time we went the camera broke and all of the clips of Danny got lost. 2 months later I managed to convince Mike to go. It took him a while to stomp the trick just because he did not want to bail into shit – literally. The two underground clips of Mike and Danny are the opener of the video and it means a lot to me that we went back.
Thanks to all the skaters and people that contributed and believed in this and especially Danny, Mike, and Daniel to be there and stay with me from the beginning. Big up for the last-minute support from Fabio who did the titles and illustration artwork for the hardcopy.
“They started to take one of the “still in use kitchens” apart and ran through intact walls. Sometimes skaters are savages.”